Category Archives: North Village Church

How do we respond to difficult seasons?

In the book of Malachi we see the people in Malachi going through difficult seasons.  They are being ruled by a foreign government.  They are rebuilding their homes.  They are restarting their economy.

As a result of this difficult season their hearts have become hard, and as a result their words have become hard, so that in Malachi we see them asking very practical questions, “What is the profit of keeping His charge?”  (Malachi 3:14)

The people in Malachi are asking, “What’s the point of giving our lives to the God of Scripture if life is going to be just as hard?”  In fact, the people in Malachi are looking at the wicked nations around them and seeing God’s blessings. (Malachi 3:15)

Look at the Lord’s response in Malachi 3:16:

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How could we rob God?

Malachi 3:8-9, “8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!”

The people in Malachi were blessed by God to enjoy His blessing and in addition bless other people.  In the previous verses we learn that the people in Malachi are doing just the opposite.  The are neglecting the widow, the orphan, and the immigrant.  In response the Lord says, “You are robbing Me!”

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How to respond to immigration?

Malachi 3:5, “5 “Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me,” says the Lord of hosts.”

Immigration is a popular topic in our culture today. There are two topics that need to be held in tension when you hear people talk about immigration; love and law.

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#metoo

Malachi 2:13-14, “13 “This is another thing you do: you cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14 Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.

In our culture today there is a hash tag going around called #metoo. The hash tag is an attempt from our culture to bring awareness to the injustice committed against women today.

It is a reminder in social media to treat women with respect and honor, which is a good thing, but this hash tag trend is elevating a truth that has been important to the God of Scripture from the very beginning.

Even in Malachi 2 we see the God of Scripture bothered by how the husbands are treating their wives. Do you see the challenge in verses 13 and 14?

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Spiritual Leadership

Malachi 1:6, “6 “‘A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My respect?’ says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests who despise My name. But you say, ‘How have we despised Your name?”

In verse 6 we see the focus of Malachi turning toward the priests, “O priests who despise My name.” The priests in the Old Testament were the spiritual leaders of the community, therefore, in verse 6 the God of Scripture turns to the priests and asks, “Why do you despise My name?”

The word, “Despise” means “to make light of” so that the spiritual leaders were “making light” of God’s glory, and you need to know the spiritual health of any community is directly linked to the spiritual leaders of that community.

Everything rises and falls on spiritual leadership. It is true in Malachi 1, and it is true in North Village Church. When the God of Scripture wants to provoke life transformation in our church family He is going to move through the leaders.

When Jesus enters into human history He doesn’t go to every single nation, but instead Jesus enters into one place at one point in history, and gathers a bunch of leaders to Himself to win them, train them, and sends them into all the nations of the earth.

Therefore, the spiritual health of our church family is really important. The elders, their marriage, their inner life is going to have a huge influence on the spiritual health of our church family.  But, it isn’t just our elders, and their wives, but it is also the spiritual health of our staff, our Ministry Leaders, Group Leaders, Triad Leaders, Kids Village Teachers and Youth Village Leaders.

Therefore, lets remember to pray for our spiritual leaders because the more spiritually healthy our leaders are the more spiritually healthy we will be as a church family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does that make sense? Look at verses 7-8: (SLIDE)

 

Malachi 1:7-8, “7 You are presenting defiled food upon My altar. But you say, ‘How have we defiled You?’ In that you say, ‘The table of the Lord is to be despised.’ 8 But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?” says the Lord of hosts.”

 

In verse 6 the Lord says to the priests, “Where is my honor” and the priests say, “What do you mean we don’t show you honor?” Therefore, in verse 7 the Lord says, “Look at your sacrifices!” They are blind, lame, and sick.

 

The sacrifices in the Old Testament were a means of grace. It was a way for the people to say, “Our sin against God is worthy of death, and this animal is going to stand in our place.” Which means verses 7-8 is describing an act of worship! Write down next to verses 7-8, “Acts of worship!” But, in verses 7-8 their “acts of worship” have become half-hearted because they are offering up animals that are blind, lame and sick.

 

Illustration: You have to remember the people in Malachi didn’t have Apple Pay to make donations. If you were a farmer you would bring a crop. If you were a shepherd you would bring animals. If you were a businessman you would bring coins.

 

It is as if they are saying, “See that old goat over there that is dying. Let’s just done that one.” See those rotten eggs we can’t eat, let’s bring those? Oh, just drop those in the offering! It was “half-hearted worship” and the Lord says, “It is not evil?” Would you bring that to your governor? No, then why would you bring that to the One who speaks all creation into existence? It was half-hearted acts of worship! Write that down, “Half-hearted acts of worship.”

 

Please don’t misunderstand: The God of Scripture isn’t concerned about quality name brand animals, but instead He is concerned about the heart of the worshipper.

 

Illustration: It’s like when you open the Scriptures with the television on in the background, just so you can tell yourself that you “I did my Bible reading for the day.” No, you are learning about God, give your best. Even if it is 3 minutes, then give the Lord the best 3-minutes of yourself.

 

It’s like when some of you are cleaning out your house for things you don’t want and you say, “We don’t want this anymore, lets donate that to the church!” No. Don’t give our church family your ratty old things you don’t want. Give your best, and you keep the leftovers, and you dedicate the best to the Lord because He is worthy!

 

It’s like when you show up on Sunday running late, dragging kids, and arguing with your spouse. The answer isn’t to turn around and go home. No, the answer is to stop, consider why you are late, confess those things to Jesus, and ask for His help submit yourself 100%, heart, soul and mind to the Lord.

 

When we stand up to sing we take time to consider to ourselves, “What words am I singing? Do I believe those words? When speak to one another are we prepared to ask questions, encourage, listen, and speak truth? When we give financially do we do so with joy and sacrifice, because He is Lord!

 

Listen to me, God’s Word isn’t here this morning to make us feel guilty, but the Spirit of God is here to press into our souls and ask, “Are you in awe of the glory of God?” Every time you show up, read His Word, open your mouth, or give energy or money, might we remember that we are participating in the glory of God! Look at verses 9-11: (SLIDE)

 

What has Jesus done for you lately?

In our church family we are studying through Malachi, and the people in Malachi have lived through a roller coaster of history.  Yes, they have heard about the God of Scripture doing glorious things in the history of Israel like (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, and Solomon), but they have also heard about really horrible things.

Israel is split into two kingdoms, 10 tribes to the north, and 2 tribes to the south. The ten tribes to the north are taken into captivity by Assyria. The 2 tribes to the south are taken into captivity by Babylon. The temple that Solomon built has been destroyed, and the people are wondering, “God where are you?”

Yes, there are good things happening. The city walls are being rebuilt, the temple is being rebuilt, the economy is picking up, and things are looking better, but they are still living under Persian oppression, they are still walking through hardships, so that in Malachi 1:2 when the Lord speaks to His people and says, “I have loved you” we see the visceral response of the people in Malachi is, “How have you loved us?”

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God where are you?

We are studying through Malachi on Sunday morning at North Village Church, and the people in Malachi have found themselves in a place of less confidence in God’s promises.

Now, keep in mind the children in Malachi have grown up hearing these glorious stories about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. They grew up hearing about Moses parting the Red Sea. They heard about David and Goliath. They heard about this glorious temple that Solomon built.

But, they also heard about 10 tribes being taken into captivity by a wicked people named Assyria, they heard about 2 tribes being taken into captivity by a wicked people named Babylon, they heard about their cities being burned, their people being murdered, and they are starting to wonder, “God where are you?”

Haven’t you ever been in that place?

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